Sunday, 1 January 2017

December 2016 digest

Social club news (and more musings on capacities)
There have been no official updates on the status of the build itself that I'm aware of, nor have I been made privy to unofficial murmurings that I can both recall and that are also worth repeating here. However one of our readers has made us aware of (publicly available) documents on the liquor licence for both the social club and the stadium as a whole.

One of the first and most obvious changes is that there will now be two separate liquor licences, As the stadium and the social club are now under separate licences, you will not be able to take liquor from the social club out into the stadium area, though patrons will be able to, as our correspondent noted, take alcohol off the premises, ie 'buy a slab to rake home'. I suppose this will also mean you will be able to be served alcohol in a glass inside the social club as well. The social club's liquor licence hours are:
  • Sunday: Between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.
  • Good Friday & Anzac Day: Between 12 noon and 11 p.m.
  • Monday To Friday: Between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Saturday: Between 7 a.m. and 12 midnight.
Which I assume is the same as it ever was, and that as it was back then, so too will a limited amount of extended trading hour applications be available to the club. No capacity is listed on the social club's licence. In terms of who can be served and under what conditions, the 'licence is a full club licence' which 'authorises the licensee to supply liquor on the licensed premises'
  • to a member of the club for consumption on or off the licensed premises; and
  • to an authorised gaming visitor or guest of a member for consumption on the licensed premises.
Which seems to suggest to me something like the Celtic Club in the city, where visitors or guests of members will have to sign in upon entering the social club, which seems consistent with what I've been told in the past. As an aside, I wonder how much it has cost the club to renew and maintain its liquor licence during the time that there has been no active or usable social per se, assuming that the club was in fact renewing and maintaining its liquor licence over that time.

For the stadium liquor licence, the interesting part is where there is specification of the stadium's capacity. The 'internal area' (which I assume refers to either the corporate or the function space) capacity is listed at 220 patrons, while the  'external area' capacity is listed at 7,400 patrons, for an overall maximum of 7,620 patrons. When this total is put together with South of the Border's count of the grandstand seating - which you up'll recall was 5338 - it leaves about 2,300 as the standing room capacity as calculated by the government.

Whether theoretically you could squeeze many more into the standing room areas is another matter entirely, but it's nice to have what appears to be a legit figure from the government itself about Lakeside Stadium's official current capacity.

2017 Fixtures released
And they are, interesting. Almost certainly because of the delay to the social club's refit, we've pulled a bit of a Ballarat Red Devils 2014 move and are playing our first seven games away. Apart from that, some things to note.
  • Almost all our home games at this stage are scheduled for Sundays at 4:00. How civilised. The exceptions to that rule are an Easter Monday game against Melbourne Knights, and our final round game with the simultaneous 3:00PM kickoffs.
  • We have an extra Monday night away fixture, with Kingston continuing to play home games on Mondays. Another chance to reiterate how stupid Monday night games are. 
  • Avondale will continue playing their home games at Knights Stadium.
  • A few teams are experimenting with different days and time-slots. The Bergers and Gully probably the most notable of these with their Saturday evening/night time-slots.
But things could change! Let me know if they do.

Public transport guide updated
I have updated my public transport guide. Unfortunately for the public transport brigade, we've lost some of the easier grounds to visit, and ended up with some of the worst. No matter, we press on. I've changed the format slightly, getting rid of the bullet points (for the most part), adding some basic map images for each entry, and noting the existence (or otherwise) of PSOs at various train stations. As usual, please send in any corrections or suggestions.

Vale Dave Maclaren
As noted on Mark Boric's blog (which also has some good links), former South Melbourne Hellas coach Dave Maclaren passed away during December. A goalkeeper as a player, Maclaren coached South in 1978 after coming down from Sydney (with the side finishing third, two games behind champions West Adelaide), as well as the early part of the disastrous 1979 season, where the club finished last for the first and hitherto only time in its history. Maclaren's coaching stint at South was relatively short, but his connection to South continued in the form of his son Bruce (who was the goalkeeper in the championship year of 1991), and grandson Fraser, who played a handful of games for South in 2015.

Even FFV's NPL Victoria Facebook page is getting on board the 'People's
Champ' gimmick. Indeed, the change in tone and frequency of that
Facebook page talking about South has not gone unnoticed by both
South fans and opposition persons. I'm sure the majority of South people
 are loving it, though some, like myself, are wary of it causing a backlash
 or coming across as FFV playing favourites. I guess the theory is to be
loved or hated is better than to not be thought of at all. Though to be fair,
FFV probably just enjoy getting the kind  of social media metrics and
interactions that South is getting, even if some of that is anecdotal.
More on FFV's overall NPL media strategy in a post coming in early 2017.
Arrivals and departures
Some new signings have finally been announced, including several Brisbanites in the form of Jesse Daley, Luke Pavlou and Ajdin Fetahagic - the last of whom did his ACL during a training session. We've also upgraded youth player Joshua Hodes to the senior list, and welcomed back winger Stefan Zinni from his ultimately unsuccessful Melbourne Heart stint. That's a lot of youth right there. 

In addition to that, we've signed Bentleigh midfielder/utility Liam McCormick, and surprised a few people, your correspondent included, by signing former South player Francesco Stella. The People's Champ and Kristian Konstantindis have signed for 2017. while Matthew Foschini has signed two more seasons.

There is talk that there are still a couple of players to be signed, as well decisions needing to be made on the fates of several fringe players.

As per last time, the following players are known to be contracted for next season.
    Mathew Theodore has retired, or gone off on sabbatical. Oh, and we've added the departure of Manolo for the sake of completeness, even though he left during the 2016 season. Players who have officially left the club so far:

    A-League expansion ephemera/continuing chronicle of self-regard
    Scheduled for the 2018/19 A-League season, which makes irrelevant (probably) our claim that we could be ready for season 2017/18 - unless it's part of the FFA conspiracy to keep us down by allowing time for other bids to sprout. Some have contended that that time line makes it harder for a South bid. I think if the bid is good enough it will get in on its own merits regardless of the time frame. And would you really want to get in based only having rushed the process? Don't answer that question.

    The actual existence of other bids aside from our own and the Tasmania bid remains a sketchy proposition at best - but then again, so do the nuts and bolts details of those two bids as well, so it all evens itself out in the end.

    One of the things we at South of the Border have been concerned interested in finding out is how Lakeside would be changed in order to create more seating capacity, at least on a temporary basis. To that end, the upcoming Usain Bolt athletics event in early February will go some way towards answering that question, at least in terms of providing a practical example of what can be achieved at Lakeside on that front.

    Below is the seating map for that event. Note that apart from the yellow fixed stands we already know and love, there are western and eastern grandstands where the terraces are - which will be news to the terraces that already live there, I'm sure.

    One suspects then that there will temporary grandstands installed, with what right now to me is an indeterminate/unknown number of seats. The general admission seating costs about $45 for the 'western' stand, and about $35 for the 'eastern' stand, and for the east it appears to be 'first in, best dressed', because you may end up in the standing room area at the back. Reserved seating costs a whopping $70, and all those prices don't include the booking fee if you purchase tickets online. All of which makes one think twice about attending this event for the primary purpose of investigating the grandstands.

    There's also been a TV deal settled - or at least the major component thereof in the form of the pay television aspect, with the free to air bit yet to come. The deal will end up being a big increase on what FFA had, but not as much as FFA wanted. More problematic for them was there was no one clamouring for the majority rights other than Fox Sports. As it relates to us though, it's all neither here nor there as far as I can tell. Maybe behind the scenes the networks are saying we need another team in Melbourne, but I'm not behind the scenes to know that.

    In the post AGM round up we warned you that the club would continue on its path of most salacious self-aggrandisement, and even though news has dried up a little - I suppose people had to take some time off to see their familiies and such - it reached new heights when it was suggested that Roberto Carlos would be coach of 'our' A-League side. All of which was news to Roberto Carlos himself.
    Others were more willing to play South's game and at least pretend that this was all legit, but they still duly noted: why choose Roberto Carlos in the first place, an excellent free kick taker but thus far incredibly mediocre manager? But it's the hype that matters, you see. The mostly mock concern over Chris Taylor's feelings on the matter was laid on a bit thick to be honest.

    One trend which has emerged in recent times, at least on a secluded corner of the internet, is South fans being split along the lines of either being wholly for the whatever it takes approach to getting this A-League bid up and going, saying whatever needs to be said no matter how outrageous; to more Negative Nancy types who think this whole is a joke. The latter being in the minority, they've copped their fair share of heat for pointing out some of the absolute nonsense being peddled by people associated with 'our' bid.

    As you may have guessed, your correspondent tends to fall into the latter category on this matter. That's not to say that I approve of the tone of some of the negativity, because it can and has become as predictably knee-jerk and pedestrian in its instinctive reflexivity as those who are all the way with whatever the hell it is some people are trying to do.

    But because I share some or even many of their broader concerns on this matter, I like to think there is a way of putting forward that case that doesn't simply play out as an attempt (whether deliberate or not) to try and seem cooler than everyone else by the taking up of a minority position.

    And I say this because there are many things with the presentation of this South bid which have reached beyond mere old fashioned Hellas arrogance, and which have ended up instead increasingly further away from anything resembling reality (provided of course that we exist in the 50% possibility that we're not in a simulacrum).

    That being the case, we should as South fans be allowed to fairly criticise those kinds of claims, without fear of being labeled as recalcitrants or other such erms. While remembering the necessary caveat that not that of any of that matters, if we are to believe that this stuff does matter, we have a right to be concerned with the club's image and the way it is portrayed in the public.

    But back to the issue at hand. Further complicating matters is the announcement of real estate development firm Luvarc as our major sponsor for next season. When we say complicated, this is because Luvarc is associated with Louisa Chen, who at one point - that point being the bid's initial soft-launch - was seemingly being touted as an investor. Then at the AGM they said there were no investors. After that, well it's been hard to keep track of which story to take seriously, or where these stories may all fit in the time-line. Historians looking back at this era are going to have a lot of problems, though since we're not going to make it into the A-League, it probably won't matter so much.

    On a side note, I am absolutely fascinated by what seems like the increasingly deliberate tactic of not putting up anything about the A-League bid on the website. Are you intrigued by all the South Melbourne A-League bid hoopla and want to find out more? Well visit our website and learn about... all the players we've signed for next season. Facebook and Twitter seem to be taking up all the slack on that, letting people comment and I assume having their comments deleted as the case may be. It's almost like leaving as little a formal digital paper trail as possible at home base, instead preferring to dirty up the social media frontier - basically anywhere the interest can be made to seem like it is being driven by individuals and groups outside of South Melbourne Hellas.

    But we've talked at length about these things before...

    We came out of that pretty well
    Oh, and those worried that by losing the Melbourne City/South Melbourne Toyota sponsorship we'd lose the van, have no fear! Team manager Frank Piccione will get to keep driving around our de facto social club regardless.

    Another one from the 'why did nobody tell me?' files
    Did you know that midfielder Stephen Hatzikostas made a film of some kind, or that he was a painter? Or that he had an exhibition of both these sides of his artistic self during (I'm guessing) September this year? Even though I'm not particularly artistic myself, and clearly prefer the literary arts to the visual, I am disappointed that those who know me well enough at South Melbourne did not think to tell me that Mr. Hatzikostas was presenting work in a gallery space, knowing that I don't mind visiting galleries, nor considering that I would be interested even at the base level of 'holy crap, here's a South Melbourne player doing something different'. There's so much other crap on the website and social media from our end, why not even a cursory mention of this? (unless that's the way Stevie Hatz wanted it?) I mean, there might also be a valid critique to be made asking whether we really need another film about riding a motorbike through America, but that's for the potential audience to decide, surely? Couldn't they at least make up their own minds in the fading but still warm afterglow of the grand final victory, whether Stevie Hatz's late arrival to pre-season preparation because he was busy riding across the United States while making this movie was all worth it?

    Anyway, here's a half related and true story. Back in, oh, about 2009 I think, I was in a documentary making class as part of my undergrad professional writing course, and I was teamed up with a bloke who wanted to make a doco (25 minutes or so in length) about what it was like to be a motorcyclist in Melbourne, or some such topic. He ended up doing most of the work, because he had the proper knowhow and technology at home to edit the footage (and Vic Uni was very slack in teaching us anything to do with that), though I did provide as much as technical and editorial assistance as I could, as well as moral support when something electrical blew up and he had to work from a much older save file. I would have done more work on the film had I been able to ride along the back of my mate's Triumph while holding a video camera - unfortunately when I tried putting on the motorcycle helmet I got claustrophobic within about three seconds, and in the end some German/Austrian exchange student who was not a part of our team (or even part of that subject) ended up doing the ride along filming. Apart from ongoing residual guilt about having earned an HD for something I didn't really do enough on, everything worked out OK in the end, and there was no resentment from my partner. I even made use of the experience, by using the experience of walking between the St Albans campus and my mate's place off Main Road West to ponder how easy it would be to dump a body in the wetlands that act as an impromptu nature reserve near the campus, and I included as a section in the only piece of literary fiction I've had published.

    Anyway, we find probably the one person at South Melbourne Hellas whose artistic pursuits aren't limited to strictly consumer exploitation oriented graphical and web design, and nobody deems this even remotely important.


    1. Damn, wish I had known about the exhibition by Hatz. Enjoyed his short vid, and must admit jealous that he's taken his passion for bikes to a next level.

      Just wondering if you (ASH) could provide a link to the doco of Melb riding?

      1. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the doco we made. Did not have the production values of Hatz' video, I'll say that much.

    2. The liquor licence for the old social club would have been 24 hours.

      There were Late night NYE parties, ethniki/FA cup screenings held there where alcohol was served.


    3. There is talk of the Rd4 fixture against the Bergers might be reversed and played at Lakeside.Due to Bergers doin some minor works at there ground. Spartan Warrior..

      1. Thanks for that - I did wonder about that because I was under the impression that the upgrade to Olympic Village would be taking place this year, and that the Bergers might have to play at least some of their home games elsewhere this season.

      2. But surely Lakeside is unavailable?!

      3. As a former contributor to this blog used to say, 'these are the questions that keep you up at night'.

      4. I just realised that the Grand Prix is 3 weeks later on March 26. Whats the usual lock out period for South?

    4. Its interesting that the crowd capacity of Lakeside appears to have halved as a result of the upgrade made in 2011.

    5. Greatest fixturing ever (except for no home games until Rnd 8!). Sunday 4pm is the best time in winter.

      BTW ... That Bulleen game in round 2 will again prove that the NPL can get excellent crowds if we were playing out of the miserable winter season (which also stops many AFL fans from attending).

    6. Further to my fixturing comment, I would daresay that the first truly COLD BRACING game will not occur until Round 22 against the Knights in July on Friday night.

    7. LOVE your PASSION for SOUTH MELBOURNE in this blog of yours PAUL

      #ps4nplvic #foxfootball #sbstwg #aleague


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